There is something special about watching people do what they were intended to do, not disillusioned with false fronts but instead provoked by a need to create. These feelings hit home with Orange County duo NEFFEX.
With no formal education in music production, Bryce Savage and Cameron Wales immersed themselves into books and YouTube tutorials on production in their high school years. They describe NEFFEX’s sound as “an aggressive, but ultimately pop-oriented blend of hip-hop, alternative rock and EDM,” according to Genius.
After beginning to release original music on streaming platforms, they were struck by the concept of YouTube channels like NoCopyrightSounds that put out royalty free music.
Understanding the need of content creators to have royalty free music to prevent copyright violation and how the accessibility of their music with this concept had the possibility of spreading their music across different platforms solidified their trajectory.
Amalgamating a fusion of electronic, hip-hop and alternative music with an early 2000s essence that pays homage to the bands influential on their childhood like blink-182 and the Backstreet Boys, Savage and Wales continued to make music dripping with this sound and decided to release 100 songs in 100 weeks in 2017.
Through developing their own system where they each took on different aspects of the production process and the practice of continuously producing music in short time spans reinforced the strong, their collaborative nature between them that carried them through releasing 100 songs in 100 weeks and into a new project — EP “Q203.”
In an interview with NEFFEX, Savage and Wales discuss tracks off their EP, immersing themselves in L.A. culture including throwing weekend parties seeping with champagne, and the trial and error method of finding the right platform for their music to catch fire.
Why diverse your catalog of predominantly singles with EP “Q203?”
Bryce Savage: We had been pumping out a new song every single Wednesday and we always talked about how cool it would be to release an EP or album, but we wanted to make sure we were going to come out with a bang. With the new of 12Tone [Music] to our team and signing onboard with them, the EP is our way of exposing a project to the world.
And the crazy thing about us is that the amount of different genres we have produced over the years. We wanted to put together a project that captured our sound a little bit more so people will know what to expect from us and put it into one succinct grouped project where people can listen to it through and it all sounds not the same but similar styles of music.
So that’s what’s been cool about the EP and why I wanted to in that direction because if we kept doing singles we bounced around from pop to hip-hop to rock, all different kinds of genres, and now, we’re trying to find our own lane within this EP.
Tell me about the conception of your song “It’s My Life.”
Cameron Wales: It all started off with a sample that we liked, and then a lot of times, [our] songs start with a little bit of inspiration — a guitar riff, a sample, a vocal chop, something like that — that gets you going. And the instrumental [of “It’s My Life”] was so infectious and upbeat and happy, and then, as we started adding those breakbeat drums in it was like, “Man, this song just has a vibe. It has this good energy.”
And we’re known to create all sorts of types of music, and a lot of our music is also motivational and inspirational or has some sort of deeper meaning to it, and this one was fun because it was such an infectious beat [and] we wanted to make sure that it wasn’t too motivational or inspirational or anything, that it was just a fun, uplifting song. But at the same time, it has this message of “It’s my life, I’m going to do what I want to with it. I’m going to have fun, I’m going to enjoy myself and I’m going to live my best life.”
What is the story behind your song “Sunday?”
Savage: We use to throw these Champagne Sunday events, where we had these pockets of different friend groups in L.A. [and] we would buy a bunch of alcohol, invite everyone over and say “On Sundays, feel free to come by our place. There’s free alcohol.” We even ordered food a lot of time. We just want everyone to meet, hang out, party, have a good time.
It was a cool way to get our different friend groups to all introduce themselves to each other and it was a good way for Cameron [Wales] and I to meet new people, especially since we were new to L.A. recently this year. And “Sunday” was this song to try to capture this vibe while also telling a love story that would develop at a Champagne Sunday.
Originally from Orange County, how are you acclimating to the creative environment and culture of L.A.?
Wales: Champagne Sundays were our way of being apart of L.A. culture because we’re homebodies, we like to work on music together. That’s how we did it in Orange County and that’s how we’re doing it in L.A. But now we are trying to branch out, meet new artists, meet new people and really get involved in [the] L.A. culture.
How did you determine to limit the production process to solely the two of you?
Wales: Going into the 100 songs in 100 weeks that we were the ones that were going to be able to accomplish that, so we had to figure out every aspect of it within what we could do. That’s how we started taking over every job within [the process].
Savage: Cameron and I both discussed, essentially we said, “Anytime we work with someone else it takes a long time to get things done.” And we work well together, [and] we wanted to get as many songs out as possible, so we said, “I own this part of the process of making music and you own this part of the process. We can cut our time basically in half of how long it takes us to make a song.” Then we both started figuring out different parts of the music-making process — how to make a full track from beginning to end, mix, mastered, everything — and just started pumping out a song a week.
When you were releasing singles weekly, what led you to post on platforms like YouTube and Soundcloud? And what did posting on these platforms do for your music?
Savage: For us, it wasn’t like we picked YouTube and it was the perfect platform and we started taking off. It was a lot of trial and error. We released a ton of music on Soundcloud growing up. We released a lot of music through Facebook. You can’t really release through Facebook, but we would make videos for it.
So we tried different platforms and different ways of making content and ultimately we had channels taken down for remixes on Soundcloud [and] we ended up realizing that after we posted our stuff on YouTube and made it copyright free we started to see a lot of traction and it started to grow week over week over week.
But the royalty-free decision came from seeing the success of channel NoCopyrightSounds, and we were like, “What, that’s a brilliant idea.” There are so many content creators out there and looking for good original music that they won’t get claimed for. And we can 100% make that music for them, let them know that it’s available, put it on YouTube and then say, “Listen, if you guys are making a cool video, we make a bunch of eclectic music, feel free to use our songs.”
It was a snowball effect as we slowly started releasing the music. And we would hit up different YouTube channels that we really liked their content, [like] gaming content and workout channels, and say, “We really like your content, check out our music.” And eventually, people kept coming back to the channel, kept enjoying our catalog of music and it steamrolled and started to form something special.